A woman from Preston has been given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and disqualified from keeping animals for a decade after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to her seven pets and failing to meet their needs.Advertisement
Charlotte Kenny, 38, of Finney Park Drive in Lea, was prosecuted by the RSPCA after the charity’s officers found the animals living in ‘disarray’ at the squalid property, with animal faeces and piles of rubbish strewn throughout.
Three underweight dogs, who a vet said had received inadequate nutrition for several weeks, were among the animals living at the house.
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Blackburn Magistrates Court heard how the RSPCA had received information in January about a severely emaciated bull type dog called Merlin, which belonged to Kenny, who had been taken to a vet in a collapsed state some weeks earlier. The dog was suffering from severe diarrhoea and had to be put to sleep.
The charity was sent the dog’s clinical history and photographs and attempts were made by RSPCA deputy chief inspector Susan Micallef to speak to Ms Kenny about Merlin. Numerous attempts to meet her at the property were made over the coming weeks without success and the defendant was also repeatedly called on her mobile which went unanswered.
During the initial attempts to meet Ms Kenny, a cat and two dogs in poor bodily condition – a female rottweiler called Daisy and a male Northern Inuit type dog called Harou – were seen from outside the property living amongst rubbish. Notices were left for Ms Kenny to urgently contact the RSPCA to discuss the situation.
Veterinary advice was sought and on February 6 a warrant was executed by the police. Four cats were found inside and seized by officers after a vet confirmed they were suffering because of the living conditions. Daisy and Harou were later removed from another address, although both dogs had been living at Finney Park Drive.
RSPCA animal rescue officer Kelly Nix, who assisted with the warrant, said: “The conservatory looked like a room where dogs lived, it smelt of dogs, the couches had been ripped and they were full of dog hair and there were piles of empty cans of dog food, some of which had been chewed up.
“There was a strong smell of faeces and ammonia, the floor was damp and faeces could be seen. The lounge area looked in disarray, there were animal faeces on the floor that looked old, smashed pottery pieces, various other hazards and empty chewed up pouches of cat food.
“In the kitchen there were empty animal food bowls, more faeces and rubbish all over the floor, again the smell of ammonia was overpowering and the floor was damp. There was a mop bucket by the front door containing stagnant water. The ceiling above the sink had caved in so the water was inaccessible.
“The upstairs painted a similar picture, piles of faeces, some trodden into the carpets, mess and clutter, old dirty food bowls. The toilets were full to the brim with human faeces. The main bedroom you could hardly move in for junk, empty animal tins and rubbish.”
The rescued dogs were severely underweight -Daisy’s hip bones, ribs and spine were visibly protruding and she had long overgrown nails, scabby ears and an unkempt coat. She smelt of urine and her eyes appeared to be sticky and possibly infected. Harou was also in thin bodily condition. Although his coat was thick and fluffy, his spine and ribs could easily be felt and his legs and feet were tinged with urine stains.
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A vet from the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital who examined all the animals on February 6 said the dogs were both visibly underweight and any reasonable person should have sought advice and treatment.
Both dogs made good weight gains in the weeks that followed and the vet said it was her opinion that their original weight loss was a result of inadequate nutrition for between three and four weeks, possibly longer.
Ms Kenny, now of Albert Street, Morecambe, had previously ignored warning notices from the RSPCA about the condition of the dogs and their living environment and had declined offers of help to reduce the number of animals she had.
In mitigation the court was told she had been working as many hours as she could and had let the care of her pets slip as a result. Her personal situation had since improved and she had expressed remorse for what had happened and apologised. As well as the ban on keeping animals she was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of community work.
All the animals were signed over to the RSPCA during the course of the investigation.
Deputy chief inspector Susan Micallef, said: “This was a particularly upsetting case to investigate, and the situation could have been avoided had the owner followed the advice and guidance that had been given by the RSPCA previously. The animals were living in totally unacceptable conditions and the care they were receiving fell woefully short. The images of the dogs’ transformation are heartwarming, and I’m so pleased the animals that were rescued from the house have gone on to find lovely new homes.”
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